Today was a wonderful day of achievement here on the farm.
Let me itemize a couple of cool things.
First, I went and checked a group of 50 heifers at a leased farm where four years ago the land owner, a lady, asked me to teach her how to do management-intensive grazing. I tutored her the first season.
The second season, she took over and moved the herd by herself, with a couple of glitches. I watched things up every couple of weeks. Last year, she made many of the decisions and I checked in about once a month.
Today, I went over and checked on things for the first time since dropping off the herd about a month ago. Now realize, with the initial cold spring, then rain, then heat, we've had numerous issues to consider with the grazing plan. Imagine my elation to find that she was doing things perfectly. I don't mean well; I mean perfect. And the heifers look slick and fat, ready for breeding June 15. To go from city girl to expert grazing choreographer in three seasons is truly remarkable. Did I say she was a lady?
Second, I had a ticklish situation moving the herd here at home and called for some back-up. Our apprentice, Molly, came with one of the new interns, Reese. I had not communicated much about the situation and couldn't meet them there because I was over the hill doing some more prep work for tomorrow's paddock shift. They not only got the errant calf into the herd, but put up the electric fence gate WITHOUT hooking up the spark (I was out of sight putting up a new cross fence--had they hooked it up, I would have gotten shocked). The point is that Molly sized up the situation, did what needed to be done, did everything I needed done, all with no more instructions than "I need some help." That is remarkable. Oh, yes, another lady.
Third, we dressed broilers this morning and I occupied my corner gutting station. One of the new interns, Stephen, was gutting across from me and doing a bird about every 2 minutes. Benchmark is 30 seconds. I encouraged him with a couple more tips and he worked at his efficiency. Partway through the morning he timed himself: 55 seconds. A whole minute off the gutting time. That means now he can do 60 birds an hour. By the end of the summer, he should hit 120 birds an hour. I couldn't be more proud when these young people push themselves to perform, knowing that these benchmarks are the keys to successfully operating their own farm enterprises. Come on, I had to be proud of a guy too.
Have you had the satisfaction of mentoring someone to success? How did you feel?